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Byzantinische Zeitschrift

Ed. by Berger, Albrecht

CiteScore 2017: 0.19

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.150
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.569

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Volume 111, Issue 1


Presence and absence of προαίρεσις in Christ and saints according to Maximus the Confessor and parallels in Neoplatonism

Dr. Grigory Benevich
Published Online: 2018-03-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bz-2018-0002


The article shows that prior to the debate with the Monothelites, Maximus the Confessor followed the Christian tradition going back to Gregory of Nyssa in recognizing the presence of προαίρεσις in Christ and the saints. Later during the debate, Maximus declined to apply προαίρεσις to Christ and started to speak about the deactivation of προαίρεσις in the saints in the state of deification. Maximus was the first Orthodox author who distinguished deliberate choice (προαίρεσις) and natural will (θέλημα), and defended the presence of natural will in Christ according to His humanity. At the same time, the opposition of desire (βούλησις) and deliberate choice (προαίρεσις) can be found in some Neoplatonists, such as Iamblichus, Proclus, and Philoponus. Iamblichus and Proclus rejected the presence of προαίρεσις in the gods and god-like humans, admitting only the presence of βούλησις - the desire for the Good. Thus, the evolution of the doctrine of Maximus the Confessor, regarding the application of προαίρε- σις to Christ and the saints, finds a parallel doctrine (and even possibly a source) in Neoplatonism.

About the article

Published Online: 2018-03-21

Published in Print: 2018-02-01

Citation Information: Byzantinische Zeitschrift, Volume 111, Issue 1, Pages 39–54, ISSN (Online) 1868-9027, ISSN (Print) 0007-7704, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bz-2018-0002.

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